There have been captivating stories flying in every direction so far throughout the World Championship of Online Poker 2020, but this one, in particular, stands out.
The last time we spoke with Kevin “Care_Teddy” van Veen of the Netherlands, he had won a MicroMillions event, turning $4.40 into $30K during his debut Twitch stream.
Well, he was back on our radar late last week when he won a WCOOP side event for $2,273.12 in an $11 Showtime Hold’em 6-Max event. In terms of being an official WCOOP champion, van Veen was close but no cigar.
He’d quickly rectify that though. Just a couple of nights later van Veen won the 44-L $22 NLHE for $29,811.98 and is now proudly able to declare himself “WCOOP CHAMPION”.
🏆 WCOOP CHAMPION 🏆 pic.twitter.com/XKhWvSHIBI
— Kevin / Care_Teddy (@Care_Teddy92) September 14, 2020
Van Veen beat a field of 1,520 entries to his side event win, but there were nearly ten times as many (a field of 11,412 entries to be precise) in the “official” tournament. That’s one exceptional weekend.
We caught up with van Veen to find out about his crazy week, how he rose from the MicroMillions to the WCOOP big leagues, and more.
PokerStars Blog: Hey Kevin. Since we last spoke after Micro Millions, you’re still crushing the large fields, only now the stakes and prizes are bigger. What have you been doing to improve your game throughout 2020? How has your year been in general?
Kevin “Care_Teddy” van Veen: Hey! My routine hasn’t changed much since we last spoke. I still soak up a lot of content on Twitch and Poker Discords, as well as taking the time to study and review hands every now and then. Just trying to learn from players that are better than me, essentially.
The first half of 2020 was disastrous for me poker-wise and sent me on a big downswing. Thankfully things took a turn in the second half of the year, where I managed to lock up some nice scores up to the point where the $11 WCOOP Showtime Side Event win got me back to break-even. Needless to say, I shot right past that in the weekend that followed.
After winning the side event was there a part of you that felt deflated that it wasn’t an official WCOOP event, or were you just happy?
Not at all deflated. If anything it just made me even more eager to get amongst it and try to lock up an actual WCOOP title. And of course, I was happy to win the side event! Locking up a sizeable score right in the middle of a big series? Absolutely, sign me up.
What did you do in between the two events you won? Any special studying? How do you go from side event champ to WCOOP champ in just a couple of days?
Nothing different from my “standard” weekend activities, really. I celebrated my win on Friday night and had some fun with it on Twitter.
— Kevin / Care_Teddy (@Care_Teddy92) September 12, 2020
The next day I had my regular Saturday with a game of football in the morning, some quality time with my girlfriend in the afternoon, and in the evening just hopped back on for another poker session.
Describe the way you felt when you sat down to play your first WCOOP session after winning the side event. Were you super focused and determined?
Honestly, it took me a little while to get in the zone, having not slept as much after running deep and celebrating the night before. But once I get a session going and get to the business end of things, I just get locked in automatically and try to make the best of it.
How did your WCOOP event go for you overall?
I haven’t taken the time to look over my hand history yet, but it was a pretty cruisy start from what I remember. I was amongst the chip leaders for most of the early- and mid-game, winning/holding big hands when I needed to and getting most the big pots shoved my way. I was able to leverage the pressure of my big stack multiple times, and I don’t think I’ve had my tournament life at risk up until the final two tables.
The final table ended up lasting far longer than expected, with shorties constantly doubling up and stacks getting very shallow. At one point we were 6-handed with the chip leader having 23 big blinds, pretty crazy actually. A bit later during four-handed play, I got sent down only three big blinds after losing a big pot with QQ vs KT with a King rolling off on the river. But, as I said, the FT was incredibly shallow, and one lucky scoop in a three-way pot got me right back in it with 12 big blinds. After this revival, I was incredibly fired up and determined to take the crown. And eventually, I managed to get the job done and close it out with a win. WCOOP Champion. Still sounds incredible.
During the deep run, I had the support and rail of many Twitch & Discord regulars, from which I’ve received hundreds of messages of congratulations and well-wishes after I got the win. Understandably, I did my fair share of gloating and showing off the achievement, but this to me proves once again what an amazing bunch the online poker community is and how glad I am to have found my way into the game.
You’ve been on a heater the past few months. What games are you normally playing in a regular session these days? Would you say you’re happy with where you are in poker right now or are you striving to play higher?
I’ve been doing more than alright these last couple of months, no complaints here!
I’m happy with the progress I’ve made thus far. Keep in mind, I only discovered the game less than three years ago. Since then, I’ve been able to move up stakes slowly but surely, building up a nice bankroll and picking up some incredible scores along the way. Right now, I’m playing at an ABI of ~$15, and I’d like to keep improving my game and strive for more as we go. Winning a big score like this doesn’t mean I suddenly get to move up and beat higher stakes, but it does allow me to shot-take a couple of bigger things comfortably. For example, I’ll definitely get involved in the $530 WCOOP Main Event this Sunday.
When we last spoke, you were flirting with the idea of leaving your job and giving full-time poker a shot. How are things away from the tables now?
After my Micro Millions win I considered several options regarding my job, but quitting seemed a little too extreme. Right now, I’ve moved down from a 40-hour to a 32-hour workweek, which allows me to find a better balance between both of my interests and pursue both my poker and career aspirations. Working from home from time to time definitely helps as well – not having to tackle an early alarm and traffic after running deep into the night is definitely a welcomed change.
You won the MicroMillions event during your first-ever Twitch stream. Are you still streaming and if so, how is it going?
I’ve not streamed as much as I’d like to. Having to combine work, poker and streaming is a little too much for me, so I’ve decided to take a step back in that regard. I’ll fire up my stream every now and then with a deep run though, for sure. But whilst I was busy winning the WCOOP event, I was being railed with no delay by fellow streamer and good friend Driftinator. Big shout out to the man, railing me all the way down to the crown!
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